Town hopes to turn brownfield green

BEACON FALLS — Town and state officials are working to bring green energy to Beacon Falls.

During the Board of Selectmen’s meeting Sept. 8, First Selectman Christopher Bielik said the town is looking at a brownfield on Blackberry Hill Road as a potential location for a solar farm.

The site, which served as the town’s landfill until the 1980s, would be converted to produce energy for municipal use through a state grant.

“It ties into a state project for accessing brownfield properties and being able to convert them into some kind of actual useable function,” Bielik said. “The fact is we have a brownfield in town that is probably a candidate for something similar to this.”

Bielik said he is working with state Rep. Theresa Conroy (D-105) towards getting a state grant for the project.

“She is going to be doing some additional research for us,” Bielik said.

Bielik said the town may run into an issue since it relinquished the title to the land to the federal government when the land was declared a brownfield in the late 1980s. Bielik remains hopeful though that officials will be able to put the land to use to help the town.

“My understanding of the program is it’s targeted for parcels of land basically just like this one, where there’s really no other potential use for it. So it can either stay as open green space or transition it to some kind of use in the green energy field,” Bielik said.

If the town continues to pursue this grant, it would have to have a company come out and see if the land is fit to host either solar panels or wind turbines, Bielik said.

“It sits on the top of a hill, so there’s a reasonable chance it has enough southern exposure or enough wind current,” Bielik said.

Selectman Dominick Sorrentino was concerned a wind farm would upset people since the area is located in a neighborhood.

“I think it would be better for solar than wind because with those blades and turbines, there might be a sound to it,” Sorrentino said.

Bielik agreed that solar energy would be a better choice for the area.

“A solar farm is more passive. They’ve got ground based arrays now that don’t even take up a lot of elevated eye space,” Bielik said.

Bielik said officials will continue to explore the grant.

“If we can take advantage of this we will most certainly do it,” Bielik said.